White Swan/Black Swan Pas de Deux
In 2011 Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her performance in the psychological thriller Black Swan. Although the film received mixed notices from ballet fans, it sparked a renewed popular interest in the ballet Swan Lake, which served as a backdrop for the movie. In 2005 Carolina Ballet premiered Robert Weiss’s version of Swan Lake. Subsequent revivals also featured his choreography, which was inspired by a children’s book by Austrian writer and illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger.
In fall 2011 the performances of these two mark the company premieres of these two pas de deux from the 1895 Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov version of the ballet. The "White Swan" Pas de Deux from Act II of the ballet choreographed by Ivanov shows the pure, delicate Swan Princess Odette dancing and falling in love with her Prince Siegfried. The "Black Swan" Pas de Deux from Act III of the ballet choreographed by Petipa again features Prince Siegfried but this time dancing with the sensual Odile, who disguised as a black swan to look exactly like Odette, entices the Prince to swear his eternal love for her.
In a full-length production of the ballet the same ballerina usually dances the roles of both Odette and Odile. That is not possible on this program because these two pas de deux are danced back to back without the benefit of an intermission to even allow for a costume change. So for this presentation one ballerina appears as Odette and another as Odile.